Yahoo! Threatens Over Leaked Document That Highlights Government Data Sharing

Posted Dec 6, 2009

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is suing, a website that serves as a repository for information regarding the freedom of speech, spying, surveillance, and cryptography. Michael T. Gershberg of the law firm Steptoe & Johnson sent a DMCA takedown to webmaster John Young.

Steptoe & Johnson said that Cryptome is violating Yahoo!’s intellectual property rights and copyright. The website posted a document called Yahoo’s Compliance Guide for Law Enforcement. Young refuses to remove the document from Cryptome. Young also posted the the take-down notice on Cryptome.

The document highlights what Yahoo!’s data retention policies are and what surveillance and prices they offer to government agencies for data retrieval. The Guide also highlights how Yahoo! retains the IP address from users that login to their website for about a year. According to Wired, Yahoo! retains instant message logs for 45 to 60 days. The IM logs includes the friends list, date, and times.

What does Yahoo! charge the government for access to content including e-mail and IM logs of a user account. About $30 to $40 for e-mails and content from a subscriber’s account. And another $40 to $80 for the contents of a Yahoo! group.

?I cannot find at the Copyright Office a grant of copyright for the Yahoo spying document hosted on Cryptome,? stated Young in response to the take-down notice.